Since their inception, London-based quintet Zoax have made breaking down barriers and blending diverse influences their raison d’etre. And while their two EPs definitely delivered this in style, the vibrancy, vitality, and sheer creativity emanating from every note of their debut, self-titled, album makes it an enlightening, exciting, and insanely enjoyable experience.
When we caught up with frontman Adam Carroll a few weeks ago, he described opening track and lead single ‘The Bad Blood’ as ‘safe Zoax’. This is true, and it eases the listener into the new disc nicely. But considering that ‘safe Zoax’ consists of monster riffs, grooves big enough to sink ships, and a masterful melding of loud and harsh with calm and smooth textures, it ensures that the band have your full attention for the next forty minutes.
But from there, the record exists somewhere between a sumptuous banquet and a drug trip. While Adam was right in saying they don’t write songs as ‘chaotic’ as debut single ‘Bitter. Angry. Fake.’ any more, ‘Devil Dance’ might rival it in the heaviness stakes. It lures the listener in with a cool jazzy refrain, before dropping into a massive riff and roars of ‘Why so serious?!’ (delivered with such conviction that they’d terrify the late Heath Ledger), before falling into calmer textures once again.
But Zoax are anything but formulaic songwriters, and one of the best things about this record is the volume and variety of sounds which this band can bring together and make their own. From the melodic earworm riff on ‘Roses All The Way’ to the epic ‘The Wave’ to the stomp of ‘KSYCHIA’ to the bluesy swagger of ‘Alive In Sound’, this album never stops feeling like an adventure.
Zoax is the work of five tremendously talented, ambitious musicians who have delivered that breath of fresh air and injection of creativity which heavy music has been crying out for in recent years. It’s vibrant, it’s vital, it’s relentlessly creative, and it’s fucking brilliant.
Zoax is available on Friday 13th May.